Now that was more like it.

The planets aligned, cosmic energy is in retrograde and all is right with the world.

At least the National Football League weekly game guessing world.

And that is what matters to the “Pigskin Pundits” and guests who, for the most part, have struggled get on the same page with the winning teams in recent weeks.

Donald Prescott

Well, that changed in Week 11 when most of the pickers, and their guest, had strong weeks.

And, with that, a tie atop the leaderboard between Reade Brower and Mark Haskell resulted as games head deep into the second half of the season.

Alas, the campaign is 165 games old with plenty of football — and certainly an end zone full of surprises — to come.

The 11th week of the “Pigskin Pundits” saw Haskell and Ken Waltz finish 11-4, while Brower and Zack Miller ended 10-5. Guest Garrett French of Warren also finished 10-5.

Thus, through 11 weeks, Brower and Haskell are 108-56-1 (.659 winning percentage); Waltz 104-60-1 (.634); and Miller, 100-64-1 (.610). The guests also are 100-64-1 (.610).

The numbers show Brower and Haskell hold four- and eight-game advantages over those in the field.

The Week 12 guest is Donald Prescott of Rockland.

Thus far, Brower has experienced the most productive week among the “Pigskin Pundits” at 13-2 in Week 8, while Scott Cournoyer of Swanville has been the best guest picker at 12-4 in Week 3.

Reade Brower

The guests’ records this fall include: Howard Fogg Jr., Monmouth, 8-8 in Week 1; Troy Smith, Waldoboro, 11-5 in Week 2; Scott Cournoyer, Swanville, 12-4 in Week 3; Bradley Strong, Rockland, 10-6 in Week 4; Mike Curtis, Thomaston, 10-6 in Week 5; Jason Karam, Warren, 10-4 in Week 6; and Meagan Miller, Warren, 8-5 in Week 7; David Page, Winslow, 10-5 in Week 8; Mike Fuller, Islesboro, 4-10 in Week 9; Kristin Falla, Tenants Harbor, 7-6-1; and Garrett French, Warren, 10-5.

The “Pigskin Pundits” of Courier Publications/VillageSoup are in their 23rd consecutive year as they make weekly game selections, with a guest each week.

Each year during the pro football season, Waltz (sports director), Haskell (associate sports director), Zack Miller (community editor, former sports reporter), Brower (company owner) and a weekly guest go head-to-head to pick the winners (no scores or points spreads involved) of that week’s slate of games.

Readers/fans are invited to test their football wits against the “pros.”

Those interested in being a weekly guest can email Haskell at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

For decades, the weekly picks were featured in Courier Publications’ newspapers The Courier-Gazette, Camden Herald and The Republican Journal. Now, those picks are made exclusively on the organization’s websites — knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com — and appear most Thursdays.

For nearly a quarter century, the media foursome and guests have returned for the harder-than-it-looks weekly guessing games.

Mark Haskell

After 18 weeks, with the regular season extended to 17 weeks and one bye week, the guest with the best weekly record will return to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower for the playoffs and Super Bowl. The guest with the best weekly record also will receive a year’s subscription to one of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup newspapers or one of the organization’s websites.

The NFL’s Week 12 schedule includes:

Thursday, Nov. 25

Chicago at Detroit

Las Vegas at Dallas

Buffalo at New Orleans

Sunday, Nov. 28

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

Carolina at Miami

Tennessee at New England

Philadelphia at New York Giants

Atlanta at Jacksonville

New York Jets at Houston

Ken Waltz

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay

Minnesota at San Francisco

Cleveland at Baltimore

Monday, Nov. 29

Seattle at Washington

The following are the Week 12 picks of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup “Pigskin Pundits” and guest:

Brower — Detroit, Dallas, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Miami, New England, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore and Washington.

Waltz — Detroit, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Miami, New England, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Houston, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore and Washington.

Haskell — Chicago, Dallas, Buffalo, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta, N.Y. Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Baltimore and Seattle.

Zack Miller — Chicago, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Carolina, New England, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, Baltimore and Seattle.

Zack Miller

Prescott — Detroit, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Carolina, Philadelphia, New England, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, Green Bay, Baltimore and Washington.

History lesson

Last year’s top guest picker was Howard Fogg Jr. of Monmouth. He earned a 13-3 record in Week 2 to earn the distinction. As the defending guest champion, he returns as the Week 1 guest in 2021.

After 17 weeks of the 2020-21 regular season, Brower finished 166-89-1 (.651 winning percentage), Waltz, 164-91-1 (.643); Haskell, 163-92-1 (.639); and Miller, 160-95-1 (.627). The guests finished 159-56-1 (.624).

Ultimately, after 256 gridiron clashes from September to January, that included one tie, Brower prevailed by two games over Waltz, three over Haskell and six over Miller, as well seven over the guests.

In the postseason, Haskell proved the top picker with a 10-3 record, while Waltz and Fogg finished 9-4; Miller, 8-5; and Brower, 6-7. Waltz, Miller and Fogg correctly picked the Buccaneers to win Super Bowl LV.

For the media crew, Miller and Waltz finished tied with the best weekly records at 14-2 in Week 2, while, for the guests, Fogg earned the best weekly mark at 13-3 in Week 2, thus will pick against the media members in the playoffs.

In 2019-20, Waltz finished 165-90-1 (.647 winning percentage), Brower, 159-96-1 (.624); Haskell, 158-97-1 (.620); Miller, 155-100-1 (.608); and guests, 158-97-1 (.620).

Among the ‘Pigskin Pundits,’ Brower had the best weekly records at 14-1 in Week 8 and 13-2-1 in Week 1, while Brad King finished 12-3-1 in Week 1 for the best mark among the guests.

In the playoffs, Miller went 9-2, Waltz and Haskell 7-4, Brower 5-6 and King 3-8. Miller, Waltz, Haskell and Brower correctly picked the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, with Haskell’s prediction of 33-23 the closest to the 31-20 final score.

In 2018-19, Waltz was the “top dog” in the regular season as he finished 161-93-2 (.634 winning percentage), thanks to a 16-0 final week, while Miller was second at 157-97-2 (.618), Haskell third at 151-103-2 (.594) and Brower fourth at 142-112-2 (.559). The guests finished 148-106-2 (.583).

Overall, Waltz finished 167-98-2, Miller 162-103-2, Haskell 158-107-2, Brower 150-115-2 and guests 159-110-2.

Brad King of Rockland, who went 11-4 in Week 12 and earned the right to pick against Waltz, Haskell, Miller and Brower in the playoffs.

In the postseason, Brower finished 8-3, Haskell and King 7-4, Waltz 6-5 and Miller 5-6. All five correctly picked the Patriots to defeat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.